On a day where travel was delayed to and from the city thanks to a relentless snowstorm, Danny Taylor and the Calgary Flames turned up the heat at the Scotiabank Saddledome, beating the division-leading Vancouver Canucks 4-2.
They found it last night against the Vancouver Canucks, who arrived at the Saddledome just a few hours before game time after beating the LA Kings on Saturday night thanks to a snowstorm that delayed the team's travel plans.
The Canucks jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 7:49 of the first period when former Flame Chris Higgins beat Danny Taylor, but Mike Cammalleri would beat Roberto Luongo later on in the opening frame to square the affair at one.
The visitors would pull ahead again early in the second on a goal by Jannik Hansen, and the Flames would strike back much quicker this time. Lee Stempniak, who was a force to be reckoned with in the offensive zone all night, scored his sixth of the season to even the contest up yet again heading into the final frame.
In a complete turn of events from Thursday's game, the third period was the strongest the Flames, and the only one in which they actually outshot their divisional rivals. The Canucks were assessed a bench minor for abuse of the officials after Alain Vigneault reacted to what he thought was an egregious non-call on Flames forward Matt Stajan, and Jarome Iginla capitalized to score his sixth goal of the year shortly after the penalty expired to give his team their first lead of the game.
Despite a powerplay late in the game, the Canucks pulled Luongo in a last-minute attempt to force overtime. With the Flames trapped in their zone and Vancouver pressing, Jay Bouwmeester made a diving block to swat the puck away with his stick and prevent a golden scoring chance for Vancouver. This allowed Mike Cammalleri to score his second goal of the game into an empty net to put the Flames back in the win column.
I got home just in time for the third period of this game, but I was especially impressed with several Flames players in this game. Clearly J-Bo was a star for the home team in this game; he was a force on special teams as the Flames PK kept their opposition off the board again and his nifty stick-work late in the game probably preserved the two points for the Flames. I also thought Stempniak and Roman Cervenka had good games.
Stempniak was a forechecking machine and Cervenka had the most shots he has had in a game for nearly a month. He also made a good play to win a puck battle and clear the zone with time ticking down in the game. Jiri Hudler was pretty good as well as he followed up his three-point night in Colorado with two more assists in last night's game, and Danny Taylor helped the Flames break their skid with his first NHL win, playing it safe by smothering the puck early and often to avoid a late-game collapse.
The Flames face some tough opponents in the near future with the Sharks, Ducks and Kings all coming up before the week is out, but if they can keep their heads even marginally above water while waiting for Mikael Backlund and Miikka Kiprusoff to return their fortunes may improve. Both have been practicing with the team although Mickis is still donning a no-contact jersey while Kipper may return to action this weekend.